The Angels. The Yankees. Matt Shoemaker vs Masahiro Tanaka. Two baseball legendary baseball teams who...uh...okay, so it's not really the glory days of the Angels/Yankees 00's rivalry. In fact, these teams are pale shadows of those perennial contenders, but that doesn't mean we can't still have some good old fashioned Yankee dust ups. This one was a good game, too. Until it was a nightmare, that is.
Another Matt Shoemaker start, another lights out performance with a less-than-desirable outcome. It sounds weird to say (type) it, but The Cobbler has become a legit rotation piece, and a big ol' dose of baseball entertainment, to boot. The problem is this: the guy can put up these outstanding stat lines and walk-free, scoreless streaks...and the Angels will fail to score at the plate and he'll get an L for his efforts. This is no way to treat The Cobbler, especially when he's on this kind of roll.
Shoemaker's night was pretty terrific through the first six innings, and then made two bad pitches that would change the game. Ol' Shoey dropped a goose egg on the Yankees in the first six, allowing only four hits and no runs. He also wasn't allowing any walks. He was also extremely efficient, to say the very least; Shoemaker took the mound in the seventh inning, no runs for the Yankees, and only 59 pitches thrown. So yeah...efficient.
But let's not get to that seventh inning yet. Before we get to the beginning of the end, we'll talk about the beginning. The Angels really didn't do much at the plate tonight, frustrating when they had plenty of opportunities. This was a typically flaccid offense in times when it counted. They had plenty comeback mojo in Pittsburgh, perhaps they've yet to build up some more.
They got runs in boring ways, too. There was an Albert Pujols single in the first, and then a sac fly in the third, from Kole Calhoun. For most of the game, those plays gave the Angels a 2-0 lead. The 1-5 RISP would be one of the handful of nails in this particular coffin, though, so maybe we should be thankful the runs we got. Besides, those two runs were almost going to do the trick, until that seventh inning.
Okay, now on to the seventh and beyond, the place where hopes are gleefully crushed and Buttercup is the national anthem. With two outs on the board, and still relatively low in the pitch count, Matt Shoemaker made a mistake pitch to Brian McCann, and he jacked it far into right...and foul. Then, on the very next pitch, McCann jacked one far into right, and this time fair. The batter immediately following, Starlin Castro, got a mistake pitch too and was all over it, sending a ball into the left field bleachers. Shoemaker would get out of that frame, but the game was now tied.
In the eighth, Shoemaker was still out on the mound, and while he had two outs on the board, he also had given up two singles, two men on. Mike Scioscia lifted Matt Shoemaker, with two outs in the eighth and 93 pitches thrown. Fans back at home knew exactly what was coming, every single one of us. Scioscia then called for Jose Alvarez to square off against Carlos Beltran. Betlran saw two pitches from Alvarez, the second of which he hit into kingdome come.
A three run dagger, right after a controversial pitching change, a 5-2 hole Scioscia dug for himself. It was a bad dream, Yankees giving the Halos a taste of that Buttercup home cooking, and on a night where Shoemaker set them up for another victory again, only to be a footnote on a crappy loss.
The Angels faced Aroldis Chapman in the ninth, and were outmatched and outgunned. The game was over, the series opener in the pockets of the Yankees. That Beltran dagger hurt, it probably killed Shoemaker, too. There was also a questionable play where Mike Trout seemingly could have dove for a ball that would have been the last out of the side...but he didn't. That was Shoemaker's night in a nutshell: even Mike Trout was reducing him to throwing his hands up in the air, thinking "WTF!?".
I feel you, Shoey. I feel you.